A Review of Martin Amis’s Lionel Asbo: State of England

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I haven’t enjoyed a novel by Martin Amis so much since his 1995 work The Information. His newest book, Lionel Asbo: State of England, is as darkly comic as its predecessor with a similarly Odyssey-like plot. The protagonist has committed a crime”though in the case of the writer in The Information his crime was an ambiguously attempted infidelity and in Lionel Asbo, it is a real crime, or at least the breaking of a taboo”and then has to attempt to redeem himself… . Continue Reading »

A Review of Keith Donohue’s Centuries of June

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Keith Donohue’s most recent novel is a chain of interlinking stories in the tradition of The Canterbury Tales, The Decameron, or, closer to our time, Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, with a dash of Flann O’Brien, Groucho Marx, and Tristram Shandy. It’s very funny, raucous, erotic, tender, tragic, and”gasp”entertaining… . Continue Reading »

A Review of 1Q84

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What Haruki Murakami has given us in his latest novel, 1Q84, is a loose baggy metaphysical monster of a fairy tale. The Japanese writer has said he wants to blend Dostoevsky and Raymond Chandler in his work, and he has done so in this novel with a triple portion: religious mysticism, murders and detective work, and the Little People… . Continue Reading »

Iris Murdoch, A Writer at War

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I have always wanted to like the novels of Iris Murdoch more than I have. Right up my alley, I’ve thought, preoccupied as she was (and I am) with literature, religion, and philosophy. But when I’ve read them, I’ve been disappointed, though entertained. The characters are usually alive and well-drawn, the settings beautifully described, but the situations and the plots have seemed contrived, brain-spun as Tolstoy would say. … Continue Reading »

Truth’s Divided Disciples

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As I read David Lebedoff’s latest book, The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War , I began to think of George Orwell as a real-life Dr. Rieux, the hero of Camus’ The Plague , whose heroism suggests that it is possible to be a saint without believing in God. In support . . . . Continue Reading »